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Astron. Astrophys. 337, 141-144 (1998)

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Discovery of H2O maser emission from the red supergiant IRAS04553-6825 in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Jacco Th. van Loon 1, Peter te Lintel Hekkert 2, Valentín Bujarrabal 3, Albert A. Zijlstra 4 and Lars-Åke Nyman 5, 6

1 Astronomical Institute "Anton Pannekoek", University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Australia Telescope National Facility, Parkes Observatory, P.O.Box 276, Parkes, NSW 2870, Australia
3 Observatorio Astronómico Nacional, Campus Universitario, Apartado 1143, E-28800 Alcalá de Henares (Madrid), Spain
4 University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, P.O.Box 88, Manchester M60 1QD, UK
5 European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
6 Onsala Space Observatory, S-439 92 Onsala, Sweden

Received 21 April 1998 / Accepted 25 May 1998


We report the detection of 22 GHz H2O maser emission from the red supergiant IRAS04553-6825 in the Large Magellanic Cloud. It is the first known source of circumstellar H2O maser emission outside the Milky Way. The measured flux density is comparable to that expected from scaling the galactic red supergiant NML Cyg. The peak velocity agrees with the SiO maser peak velocity.

A near-infrared spectrum indicates that IRAS04553-6825 has a typical LMC metallicity. We argue that, possibly as a result of the low metallicity, the H2O emission probably occurs near or within the dust formation radius, rather than further out as appears to be the case in NML Cyg and galactic OH/IR stars.

Key words: masers – circumstellar matter – stars: late-type – stars: mass-loss – supergiants – Magellanic Clouds

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: August 6, 1998